Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tame Your Bully (short story for pink shirt day)

Update:  I was just emailed this helpful article on Workplace Bullying. Here's the link.

(selfie by Leanne Dyck)

I walk the schoolyard seeking my prey: the weak, the freak – those who, due to their appearance or behaviour, stand out as other.

Space Cadet is my favourite quarry. She seldom ventures into my kingdom; she knows what awaits her there. She enters the resource room to my chants of, “Retard! Retard!” Hidden away, in that room, her special teacher attempts to help her catch up.

Between classes, she aimlessly wanders the hall staring at her feet or with her nose in a book. She's a zombie who crashes into locker doors or is tripped and falls. In class, she never raises her hand. When called on, she supplies an erroneous answer in a muffled, vacant voice.

My minion and I take pleasure in her torture. It's an easy game. We stab her heart with cruel comments. Then we sit back and watch the blood flow. Day after day, we eat away her at spirit.

Sure there are others we toy with: Fatso and Fang-boy. But they quickly develop ways and means of defense – effectively ending our fun. Space Cadet remains our helpless victim.

The teachers don't care. They're blind to her pain. One even tapes a kick me sign on her back. He's the first to kick her but not the last. We laugh; she cries; he doesn't care.

“You have to learn to laugh at yourself,” he tells her in class.


What became of Space Cadet? Is she awash in some back alley somewhere her arms embroidered with needle marks? Is some slob keeping her in the style she grew accustom to, thanks me? Is he quick with the back of a hand or a kick?

We are in a large North American city. It could be L.A. or T.O.; I don't know. We are drawn into a large bookstore. Biscotti and espresso is served in their cafe; best sellers adorn their bookshelves. The place is packed. I mean, literally, wall-to-wall people. Now I see why. It's a book signing.

Who knew all these people could read?

Is Space Cadet, correction, Lyndi Wimpel one of those standing in line? Is she waiting to meet and greet the author?

I've searched everywhere and she's not among the eager readers.

A stack of books is loaded on a table. A woman in a business suit sits, quickly scribbling her name, as her fans gush. Two broad-shouldered well-dressed men stand slightly behind and on either side of her. Are they her henchmen? Her bodyguards? Her publishers? Her editors? 

I reach the front of the queue and buy a book. Cradled in my hands, it reveals a secret. I read the cover. “Tame Your Bully by Lyndi Wimpel.”

Well, look at that, I did contribute to society. I created a famous author.

Let's leave... 

"confront your bully"

(Photo by Byron Dyck)

Next Monday:  What's your tweeter strategy?

Sharing my author journey...
I've been remiss in keeping you up to date on submission news. I'll correct that oversight right now. 
I started the year with 14 submissions in slush piles. Of those, 3 were rejected.
From January 1st to last February 17th, I've sent out 17 submissions. Of those, two were lost in cyberspace and four were rejected.
So, in total, I have 22 submissions currently in slush piles. 
Before the end of March, I'm planning on sending out at least five more.   This means revisions.
What does that look like?
Here's an example...
There I am self editing a manuscript, when I'm caught by a phrase. It reads like silk, smooth. But it isn't faithful to the narrator's voice. Re-write.


Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne — I love the imperative message in this post!

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Laurie.

Anonymous said...

Good story. Some people never change, others do in spite of life's difficulties.

A girl lived behind our house who bullied and attacked me when I least expected it usually with a friend. Fifty years later, I met her again. Her head was all messed up. SHE had been all messed up but no-one understood those things back then.

Leanne Dyck said...

Bullying hurts so much, and that's why it's so difficult to step back from the situation and ask why. Not only why me, but why is she (or he) doing this? It's not surprising, in our society, we are caught up with identifying who is at fault. But I think you're right, Tess, in bullying, there are two victims who need care and understanding -- the bullied and the bully.